I have few annual traditions on this spot of the Internet. One of my favorites is when I turn it over to a friend of mine, a former co-worker and the Gulf Coast of Florida's leading expert on digital displays, SCL Mike. Plus it gives me an easy post!
He is a Rays fan (and a NY football Giants fan, but we won't hold that against him) and contrary to popular opinion he isn't 97-years-old. I had the honor of attending my first playoff and World Series games with him back in 2009 where he proved that he could indeed fit in the space beneath the sink in one of Tropicana Field's suite. He is also the man for getting Michael Taylor to "pound it and lock it in" when he was just an unknown kid playing in Clearwater.
All ideas and opinions are Mike's own and may or may not reflect the opinions of this website. Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this post, without the express e-mailed consent of The Hopeful Chase, is prohibited...or at least frowned upon.
Without further gilding of the lily I'll turn it over to the man himself...
Time for the 3rd annual MLB STONE COLD LOCKS!
I will first start out with 10 general predictions before I go to my AL East and Playoff locks!
1. Yonder Alonso will hit .310 this year and win the NL rookie of the year. Playing in San Diego will mean he only hits 10-15 Home Runs, but he will have plenty of extra base hits.
2. Ryan Braun will hit in the 250-280 range. Huge letdown season, but you know what they say about Karma.
3. Stephen Strasburg will have a disaster season. He is going to win 8 games if he is lucky.
4. BJ Upton will return for real this year, hitting in the .280s with 20 HRs and 40 Stolen Bases.
5. We will all witness the demise of Josh Hamilton. We will see at least two drinking related issues this season.
6. Mike Naopli will go back to being Mike Napoli after being possessed by the talents of Johnny Bench for a season.
7. The Mets will have lower attendance than the Rays.
8. Ozzie Guillen will get thrown out of 7 games this year.
9. Prince Fielder will hit less than 32 HRs in the AL, Albert Pujols will still tear up any pitch he sees- 45 HRs.
10. The Pirates will win over 83 games this year. This is the start of something great for them.
Now on for the surest bet anybody has each year….
Mike’s STONE COLD LOCKS:
1. The poor Orioles will once again finish in last place. They will have proven to us all that they are the anti-Rays with pitching prospects. Anybody remember 3-4 years ago when everyone was saying how they had 4 bona-fide starters ready to come up? (ed note - Why yes, yes I do.) Maybe the Rays will throw them Wade Davis or Alex Cobb for helping out in game 162 last year (Alex Cobb for Chris Davis down the stretch, yes please!).
2. The Blue Jays will be a huge thorn in the Red Sox side. They are going to win 85 games, Jose Bautista will hit 40+ HRs and for some reason they still will not make the playoffs.
3. The Red Sox. Oh, how I loved seeing them flounder last year. It’s a lock that they will be worse this year. The injuries have already started to pile up, and Carl Crawford will be lucky to see the field before June 25th. Good old beer swilling Josh Beckett will continue to slide some more, and will hurt his back sometime around July 15th.
The golden child, Dustin Pedroia, is finally going to have a down year, and Jacoby Ellsbury will realize that 'roids can only take a guy so far. On the left coast, Josh Reddick will hit .290, jack 15 HRs and laugh that he was traded for Glass Joe’s baseball playing son, Andrew Bailey.
4. The Yankees will find out that CC Sabathia can only take a team so far. They still win plenty of games, but need LOTS to go right with their starter. They are still going to hit the poop out of the ball and score lots of runs, but Father Time is watching Jeter, A-Rod, Pettite, and Rivera just waiting to step in and take one of them out. Rivera will have a 3+ ERA in this year, and it will be the last time you see the man in pinstripes. They may win 90 games this year but...
5. THE RAYS. Other than Carlos Pena, what is there not to love about these guys? They got the ladies man at 3rd ready to jack 40 HRs this year, the racist at DH ready to jack 30 HRs this year, the fresh faced kid in right getting his chance to play every day ready to jack 30 HRs, the speedy guy in left ready to steal 40 and jack 20 HRs, the religious 2nd baseman with the hot wife ready to jack 25 HRs, the old salty catcher ready to not hit .210 for a change, the angry CF who is always getting hated on ready to steal 40 and yes…JACK 30 HRs!
And I haven’t even gotten to the rotation. Let’s just be honest, there are 4 guys out there who can be number ones on other teams. It is sick. Shields is going to win 17, Price is gonna win 16, Hellickson is gonna win 15, Neimann is gonna win 15, and MATT MOORE IS GOING TO WIN 20!!!! LOCK THAT UP. First Ray to win 20 games, and FIRST RAY TO TAKE A CY YOUNG TO THE BURG!!!!
97 Wins for these guys, and if you lost count AT LEAST 175 JACKS BABY LOCK IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bold words from a man known for wearing an ALF costume while drinking. As always, thanks for taking a column off of my hands, Mike and we'll review your predictions at the end of the season.